portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

corporate dominance | police / legal

George Bush is only another Cog in the Wheel

about compassion for those we fight against, protest against; talks about how perspective needs to shift from blame to understanding such a huge systemic machine
I had a shocking revelation yesterday. I realized I'm part of capitalism-I run on a budget, a clock. I am a machine. Now this is probably Captain Obvious to the whole world, but it triggered a whole new understanding for me. A deep one. Every single issue posed in this site from police brutality to domestic violence to environmental rape, it's all stemming from this system. Call it what you want-capitalism, imperialism, monarchy, dictatorship, any system of domination and competition, disconnected from nature, breeds suffering, pain, and insanity. From mental illness to unemployment, ADHD, cancer, prisons, wars, I can't help but wonder am I the only one who can see the connection?
I no longer see the CEOs, police officer, rapists, presidents, oil drillers, addicts, criminals and think how bad they are. Instead, they're part of a system that's been in the works before King Louis and European monarchies. They are part of a culture that only knows how to function with development and industry, where some fail and others "win." But more importantly a culture of fear; fear that you don't want to be the bum in the street and you want to be able to own a house, and have a yard and be accepted. You want electricity, a toilet, a car, a driveway, because you can't just live in poverty and you don't know anything about nature because you've been bred in an artificial world. This is all you know.
When I look at CEOs, I'm no longer angry at them. I'm scared. I'm also sad for them. Stalin was a paranoid, always afraid that someone was going to take his power. When you're on top, everyone wants your spot; you've got to work harder to keep it. How can you have a fulfilling life when you work all week? You're overly paranoid about keeping the wealth.
Someone might read this and say, "Well fuck them, my needs are getting met." And I say to that, I'm so deeply sad, pained, because neither are theirs. They might have fancy cars but I feel so sad that someone needs a fancy car to feel accepted. And they must suffer (they just would never allow themselves to tell you. What will the neighbors think?) They are scared humans, and it's scary to me to have fear and power collide. I think of the Holocaust, actually.
Everyone knows logically that police officers see lots of bad things, blah, blah, blah but do we really know what that means? I think to myself, wait a minute, if my life is on the line, day in and day out, if I'm scared but can never admit it, I'd need scapegoats, people that are weak because I need to look strong. Another example of a fear and power collision to me. They've got to act so tough, it must be so scary to show weakness. They must be suffering tremendously but they'd never tell us. (We might think they're cowards.) They face so much hatred, animosity. How many people love the police? I'm sad and scared that this fear is acted out in such disrespectful and harmful forms.
It's harder for me to see the human behind the gun, in the cop car, but let's not be fooled-they are scared and suffering too. They just would never tell us.
Let's take the president. The US has become a powerhouse because we are in charge of continuing development and destruction in order to attain the only lifestyle we know. In order for us to create wealth, we need to use natural resources in unsustainable ways-think construction, creating weapons, any industry. This is a cycle that has been progressing since before monarchy, and it progresses no matter Who is in office.
If the President said-no mines, no wars, no nuclear power plants, where will we get the electricity, the copper to make machines run/appear? Those machines that the gas attendant uses, the cashier uses, that Intel has thousands of people employed to make, that delivery men deliver, that I'm writing on? And that's only a machine.
My point, the President may be an easy target for what's wrong, but he's just a cog in the wheel of a system. From him, to the CEO, to the drug lord, to the police officer, the activist, the criminal, the student, the manager, the bum, the bus driver, the HUMAN BEING, every one of us is scared and doing things to protect ourselves, because we are part of a machine, disconnected from nature, that has been updated for thousands and thousands of years, and we don't know a different lifestyle. And we're suffering. Instead of seeing the police officer as an evil person, see him as a scared human being. The CEO as a person who doesn't know that other worlds exist, where you don't have to compete. And please, please, the president, as a human who is scared but isn't allowed.
I saw the Dalai Lama and he told the audience a story. There was a Tibetan monk who was tortured by the Chinese. After he was freed, someone once asked him, what was the scariest thing that happened to you? The monk answered, "I almost lost compassion for the Chinese."
Think-they are all just different parts in a giant system; how can I change it? Then get back to me about it, cause I don't fucking know.
I do know that there have been societies that honor the earth, honor each other, where cooperation and creativity and safety happen. Lots of native peoples had it so it does exist and it is an option. Yet, we must understand who will willingly give up their jobs, money, electricity, toilets, when we have been raised with them? I would... ..if I believed it would work.
For now, all we have is bandages and compassion, and knowing that suffering has to come to an end. The earth can heal-when will it begin? Perhaps when we're not so scared.
Yes, the problem is that people are asleep, not that they are evil. 10.Dec.2006 10:10

Fred Bauer

Most people are in need of enlightenment. I don't know of an easy way. 911 is effective because once they can see that, the shock will get them to question other things as well and start critical thinking and self examination.

The problem is that some people are about as smart as cog wheels.

Great essay 11.Dec.2006 12:37

Jody Paulson

A lot of the content reminded me of Orwell's great essay, Shooting An Elephant.